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Imperial Quarterly Profit Increases 26% on Higher Oil Prices

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Imperial Oil Ltd., the Canadian company that’s 70 percent-owned by Exxon Mobil Corp., said fourth-quarter net income increased 26 percent, as rising oil prices offset a decline in production.

Net income rose to C$1 billion ($1 billion), or C$1.18 per share, from C$799 million, or 94 cents, a year earlier, the Calgary-based company said in a statement on CNS Newswire today. Per-share profit was 30 Canadian cents more than the average of three analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Average output fell 3.6 percent to the equivalent of 291,000 barrels of oil a day from 302,000 barrels a year earlier. Scheduled maintenance reduced production at Syncrude Canada Ltd., in which Imperial owns a 25 percent stake.

Oil gained 10 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange during the quarter, averaging $94.06 a barrel compared with $85.24 a year earlier. The company sold oil for an average of $89.06 a barrel during the quarter.

Sales rose 17 percent to $8.12 billion.

The company reported that it processed an average of 433,000 barrels a day in its refineries, a 7.3 percent drop from the same period a year earlier. Imperial’s refineries ran at 85 percent of capacity in the fourth quarter, down from 93 percent.

Imperial expects its Kearl oil-sands project to begin operating in late 2012. The project is expected to have initial capacity to produce 110,000 barrels a day, rising to 345,000 barrels by the end of this decade, according to the company’s website.

Imperial rose 2 percent to C$47.78 at the close in Toronto. The stock, which has gained 5.3 percent this year, has three buy, 10 hold and three sell ratings from analysts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy van Loon in Calgary at jvanloon@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net

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